Food: Food Culture Since the Edo Period and International Cuisines

“Fish of Tokyo islands and Edo Tokyo vegetables depicted in the Meiji and Taisho eras”

Tracing the History of Traditional Vegetables, from Edo to Tokyo
A host of different vegetables has been cultivated in Tokyo since the Edo period, including root vegetables such as daikon radish and carrot as well as leafy greens such as komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach). While these vegetables began disappearing from dinner tables with the decline in farmland, they gained attention once again in the 1970s and came to be known as “Edo Tokyo Vegetables”. These can be bought at JA stores within Tokyo and are increasingly used as ingredients at dining establishments. There are currently 48 varieties, including highly pungent “Nerima daikon radish” that the fifth shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi ordered his people to cultivate, crunchy ”Magome half-white cucumber” created in the village of Magome in the Meiji era (current Magome area in Ota Ward), and white “Tokyo udo salad plant” grown in Kichijoji since the end of the Tokugawa period, and the spread of these vegetables continues to be promoted to this day.
Tokyo, a City Blessed With Seafood, Mainly Around the Islands
Fisheries in Tokyo Bay have been developing ever since Tokugawa Ieyasu moved to Kanto. It is known that a variety of seafood such as righteye flounder, greenling, Japanese tiger prawn, and red clams were harvested in the Edo period. Recent Tokyo aquaculture spans a vast area of water from Tamagawa and Arakawa river systems all the way to Okinotori Island, with the areas around the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands among Japan’s best fishing spots. This is the center of Tokyo’s aquaculture, catching not only fish such as splendid alfonsino, horse mackerel, flying fish, bonito, and marlin, but lobster and red alga as well. Fishing in Tokyo Bay is currently flourishing as well, with manila clams and conger eel popular as “Edo-mae” cuisine.

”Food Made With Edo Tokyo Vegetables and Fish of Tokyo Islands”/Cooking: Tokyo Meister (meaning highly skilled worker in Tokyo, certified by the governor of Tokyo) Kimio Nonaga of Nihonbashi Yukari

A Wealth of Foods and International Flavors Concentrated in Tokyo
Tokyo is blessed with fresh foods, typified by Edo Tokyo vegetables and various kinds of seafood. Recently, dining establishments in Tokyo proactively using foods from Tokyo are working to promote local production for local consumption as “Tokyo’s Locavore Restaurants”. The number of restaurants registered with this movement, which is working to broaden the appeal of agricultural and marine products harvested in Tokyo, has grown to 358 as of February, 2018. Tokyo is home not only to Japanese cuisine such as sushi or tempura, but also offers a wealth of diverse dining spanning global flavors, including French and Italian. Even the famous “Michelin Guide”, published by Michelin of France to introduce restaurants and accommodations, recognizes the quality of cuisine available in Tokyo as some of the top in the world.